For Cups Sake! Bristol’s paper cup recycling bins

Bristol’s paper cup recycling bins are located along key commuter routes throughout central Bristol, allowing people to recycle their cups on the go as well as in popular shopping areas such as The Mall Cribbs Causeway and Broadmead (see map below).

We’ve teamed up with One Tree Per Child and pledged to plant a tree for every 10,000 cups recycled, so in addition to giving the cup another life using one of the new bins will also have local environmental benefits.

Three billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK, with less than 4% currently recycled. Every day, approximately 7.5 million coffee cups are disposed of as litter.

Thousands of paper cups are thrown away every day in Bristol. Every paper cup popped in one of the convenient cup bins will get a second life as high-quality paper, packaging and stationery products.

Find your nearest cup bin!

There are 36 (and counting) paper cup recycling bins installed centrally and in key shopping areas. Click, drag and zoom on the map to see their current locations.

6975
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College Green 1

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Temple Meads Station Approach

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Victoria Street

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Victoria Street / Bristol Bridge

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Castle Street

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Broadmead

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Broadmead central

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Merchant Street

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College Green 1

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College Green 2

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College Green 3

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College Green Bus Stop

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Cascade Steps

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Broad Quay

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The Fountains

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Bristol Beacon

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Portwall Lane 1

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Portwall Lane 2

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Bell Avenue

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Narrow Quay

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Thunderbolt Square

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Whiteladies Road 1

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Whiteladies Road 2

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Whiteladies Road 3

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Bond Street

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Bond Street bus stop

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Old Park Hill

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Tyndall Avenue

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Priory Road

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Royal Fort

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Park Row

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Temple Meads Bus Stop 2

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Castle Park/Wine Street

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Castle Park

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Clifton Suspension Bridge

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Ashton Court Mansion Café

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Ashton Court Café

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A graphic of a new Bristol Waste disposable cup recycling bin

Why paper cups?

Once collected from the new bins, the cups are baled at the Bristol Waste site in Avonmouth, before being sent to the James Cropper paper mill in the Lake District. Here the plastic lining is removed from the cup, allowing the paper to be recycled and turned in to high-quality items such as notebooks and paper shopping bags.

Find out more
Richard Burnett, recovered fibre expert at James Cropper tells us:

“Disposable cups are made up of 95% high-quality paper fibre with a 5% thin coating of polyethylene (plastic). Using our unique CupCycling™ facility, which has the capacity to upcycle 500 million cups every year, 95% of waste is converted back into paper and energy is derived from the remaining plastic in the production of recycled paper. This gives a second life to valuable fibre and creates a closed-loop solution to the global problem of disposable cup waste.”

The Cup Fund

Funding for the project was awarded through leading environmental charity, Hubbub, who launched The Cup Fund thanks to the 5p charge on disposable coffee cups voluntarily introduced by Starbucks to reduce plastic pollution.

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder of Hubbub said:

“While reusable cups are the most environmentally friendly choice, billions of paper cups are still being used each year and most aren’t recycled. We know that people generally want to do the right thing with recycling, but three in four people are still unaware that cups need to be collected separately from normal card and paper.

“12 Cup Fund projects across the UK are helping to raise awareness and introduce eye-catching cup recycling points in high footfall locations, and we hope to make it as easy as possible for Bristolians to recycle their cups when they’re out and about.”

A Bristol Waste coffee cup bin in front of Bristol Cathedral

How to arrange paper cup recycling collection for your business

If your business has a large quantity of paper cups as waste, you may be interested in our commercial paper cup recycling collection. Please contact our Business Team on 0800 061 4321 or email sales@bristolwastecomapny.co.uk to talk to them about your cup recycling options.

Why can't compostable cups go in the bins?

Unfortunately, compostable cups have a plant based lining which breaks down differently to plastic and therefore cannot be recycled in the same process. You may be able to identify whether your disposable cup is compostable by the brand e.g. Vegware, or by a symbol or writing on the cup such as “compostable” or “made from plants”. If you think your cup is compostable, please put it in a general waste bin instead.

Find out more about compostable packaging

Compostable packaging is a relatively new material stream which the waste and recycling infrastructure in the UK is not yet fully able to deal with. Most compostable packaging won’t break down naturally. Instead, it must be processed in a specific type of industrial composting facility. There are only a few of these facilities in the country and unfortunately, there aren’t any local to Bristol. Currently, compostable materials;

  • are not recyclable and contaminate the recycling stream
  • cannot be put in your council-collected food waste bin or home composter
  • cannot be put in our paper cup recycling bins

Therefore, for now, the best place for compostable packaging is the general waste bin.